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CANADA’S FINEST: YABU PUSHELBERG

Spotlight on one of the most revered design studios around.

Founded in 1980, Yabu Pushelberg is one of the most coveted design studios around. Headed by Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu, the luxury-focussed firm has created interiors for a wide range of restaurants, hotel, major fashion houses and private residences around the globe. Their commissions are varied but all linked by a timeless aesthetic with exceptional attention to detail. Their high profile clientele includes giants such as Ian Schranger (Marriot Group), Bergdorf Goodman, and Louis Vuitton.

Partners in life as well as business, the two designers met in 1972 whilst studying interior design at Toronto’s Ryerson University (which has since awarded them an honorary Doctorate). After graduating and going their separate ways, a chance reconnection via shared office space proved the catalyst to joining forces. Yabu says, “the synergy worked and our design philosophy and aesthetic were so dead-on similar that it made sense to join our businesses together.”

Known mainly for their work in the retail and hospitality industries, the designers take a unique approach to commissions. Unlike their residential projects which afford a constant dialogue with the end user, the duo often create fictional characters to inform their design. This provides a useful reference point and Yabu claims it helps “objectify the process” for the client. He goes on to explain:

“We created a whole story line about this girl named Chloë. She’s from the Upper East Side and then went to NYU. She got married and went back uptown, but she still has this downtown attitude,” explains Pushelberg of the inspiration for their new restaurant in Manhattan’s Peninsula hotel, which is set to open in September. “We always come up with a script for clarity — both for ourselves and to keep clients on track.”

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Today the partners have homes in Malibu, New York and Toronto, with working studios in the latter two cities. Spread between these workshops are their carefully selected team of artists, craftsmen and designers. At last count, they had over 100 employees working on 61 projects worldwide. This includes the New York’s latest landmark, the ultra luxury One57 Park Hyatt. Occuping 92 suites, the hotel is set within a 75 floor skyscraper that reaches an astonishing 1005 ft.

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NOTABLE PROJECTS:
Hotels:
Four Seasons, Toronto
London Editions
Park Hyatt, New York
Public, Chicago
St. Regis, Mexico
Trump, Hollywood
W, Guangzau
Waldorf Astoria, Beijing

Retail
Barney’s, New York
Bergdorf Goodman, New York
Lane Crawford, Hong Hong
Louis Vuitton, Hong Kong 


Awards:
2013: Order of Canada

2011: Platinum Circle Award (hospitality)
James Beard award for Excellence in Restaurant Design 2001: Designer of the Year
Interior Design Magazine’s Hall of Fame